Types of natural light for photographing textures

By , last updated April 17, 2017

Types of light are important to understand if you want to take better pictures. But there are different types of light you should look out for different types of photography.

If you are making web designs or selling stock photos – bright emotional images is your goal.

For textures there is a whole other story. Let us take a look at different types of lighting and where it should be used.

Front light

Front light is the light coming from behind you. Most people try to take pictures with the sun in their back in order to avoid shadows and lens flares. This type of light is intense and can result in lack of depth in the picture.


Front light can be used to take texture images. The surface in this case must be right/level and objects should not drop shadows.

Back light

Back light is the light in front of you. It lights the scene from behind and gives a deep contrast to the picture. This type of light is not suited for texture photography, but it is a very good source of beautiful stock images.


Side light

Side light occurs when the light hits the object from the side. It is good for landscape photography as it emphasizes the contrast between shapes. It is an effective technique to add a dimension and depth to your stock photos.

blue mountain stock photo side light evening

For texturing purposes, it is at the same time one of the worst types of light. It is almost impossible to make the photo seamless and the light gives another color and exposure to the part of the image. This football field texture was impossible to make tiled without damaging the detail of the grass.

artificial grass tiling problem with sidelight photography

Diffuse light

Diffuse or soft, smooth light is a light that spread evenly all over the image. It occurs in the shade or bright but overcast day, or when there is some fog or mist in the air. This type of light removes all shadows, the image becomes flat and has less contrast.

This type of light is perfect for texture photography. Almost all textures at sftextures.com are taken with this type of light.


Reflected light

Reflected light is a non-direct light that bounces from one surface to another. It can often take on the color of the surface that it reflects off.

norway city night reflect light photo by studiofreya

Like side light, reflected light is bad for texture photography. It reflects occasionally from some surfaces and makes it difficult to tile.


Twilight is a light that occurs when the sun goes down. It almost never repeats itself and is a very good light to take stock photos. This light is very rich in color, pink and orange hues often dominate the sky.


Twilight is absolutely unsuited for texture photography. It is just too dark. But stock photos can be very beautiful.


To photograph stock images you can use almost any type of light. In order to take pictures for texturing the best types of light are diffuse and front lights.